Days after India’s largest telecom operator found itself caught in the midst of a massive row and battling allegations of religious discrimination, Airtel issued a statement on Wednesday morning rejecting the charges. The telecom operator had landed in a controversy on Monday after a customer had requested for a ‘Hindu representative’ on Twitter and even got a response. Claiming that the events reported were ‘untrue and factually incorrect’, Airtel said in its statement that it did not change the advisor.
The statement which was tweeted out from Airtel’s official handle added that the company representatives were following a “dutiful course” in their regular work shift and were taught a “harsh lesson” that their religious identities matter.
“We did not and we repeat, we DID NOT change the advisor because of the unfathomable request from the said customer. At Airtel, we never have and never will succumb to differentiating on the basis of religion, ethnicity or caste,” the statement read while adding that the incident was watched and read from a different lens.
Did Airtel really bow down to a discriminatory request? Maybe you should read this. pic.twitter.com/Mr7b8Pgrci
— airtel India (@airtelindia) June 20, 2018
The telco was criticised on social media platforms with many users questioning why it didn’t react immediately to the complainant’s request for a Hindu representative and why it took them so long to issue a statement.
Airtel, however, said that its representatives were merely doing their job and were trying to resolve the issue but were wrongly targeted for “acceptance of discrimination” and “bowing down to bigotry”. “While Shoaib and Gaganjot went about working on this case they learnt a harsh lesson. That their religious identity matters. That they should check identities before taking up the responsibility of a service request,” Airtel added.
Earlier on Monday, the telecom operator had issued another statement saying that it does not differentiate between customers, employees and partners on the basis of caste or religion.
“….at Airtel, we absolutely do not differentiate between customers, employees and partners on the basis of caste or religion. We would urge you to do the same. Both Shoaib and Gaganjot are part of our custoAdd Newmer resolution team. If any customer contacts us for an ongoing service issue then the first available service executive responds in the interest of time. On your query, we will get back to you as soon as there is an update,” the statement from Airtel read.